Aftermath of Dreaming

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Hypnotic and beautifully written, Aftermath of Dreaming is an incandescent first novel of odern life and love.

Other than the little problem that she is waking up screaming in the middle of the night, life is wonderful for Yvette Broussard. Her jewelry-design career is taking off, she's back with her sort-of boyfriend, and, best of all, she no longer thinks about her once-in-a-lifetime love, international movie star Andrew Madden. Until a ...

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Aftermath of Dreaming

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Hypnotic and beautifully written, Aftermath of Dreaming is an incandescent first novel of odern life and love.

Other than the little problem that she is waking up screaming in the middle of the night, life is wonderful for Yvette Broussard. Her jewelry-design career is taking off, she's back with her sort-of boyfriend, and, best of all, she no longer thinks about her once-in-a-lifetime love, international movie star Andrew Madden. Until a chance encounter with him changes everything.

Swept up by memories of their complex relationship, Yvette is plunged into an obsession with Andrew that ultimately forces her to confront the past she thought she had left behind. At the same time, she is juggling the demands of her bride-to-be sister and her male best friend, who is jealous of other men, and thoughts of her estranged father.

Set against the glittering worlds of Los Angeles and New York, and told with both humor and pathos, Aftermath of Dreaming explores the universal themes of abandonment, forgiveness, and letting go.

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Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times
She's a promising young novelist with a strong literary pedigree, a Southern writer whose coming-of-age tale based in Los Angeles won critical praise when it was published last year. DeLauné Michel's Aftermath of Dreaming is rich in insights, and the story of how she helped create one of Southern California's major literary salons is also intriguing.
—Josh Getlin
Publishers Weekly
A southern belle gone awry, Yvette Broussard admits to "some Daddy issues"-the ultimate understatement of this honestly written but cringe-inducing debut novel. Twenty-nine years old and finally making it as a jewelry designer in Los Angles, Yvette is afloat. But she's still mourning her father's decades-past disappearance and her mother's death three years earlier, and she wakes up screaming from nightmares more often than not. When she sees her ex-lover, movie star Andrew Madden (29 years her senior), at a movie premier, her world falls into breathless disarray. Segue into 350 pages of pathos detailing her self-destructive on-again-off-again 10-year relationship with controlling, remote, seductive, unavailable Andrew. Beginning with their first liaison, when she was a starving 18-year-old artist/restaurant hostess in New York, fresh from the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Michel charts the lovesick obsession that brings Yvette winging across the country to join Andrew and keeps her waiting drunkenly by the phone. Though Michel conjures a credible voice for her unfortunate protagonist, watching Yvette waste her life and self-esteem is like witnessing a slow-motion train wreck. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A troubled Louisiana beauty comes of age in L.A., with the help of a Warren Beatty-esque superstar. Yvette Broussard wakes up screaming in the middle of the night-often. Otherwise, things are looking up for the 29-year-old: Her older sister's wedding (and the psycho bride-to-be's demands) will soon be over. Her jewelry designs are beginning to appear in the right boutiques. Michael, the boyfriend who couldn't commit last year, is back. And she finds herself obsessing only intermittently about Andrew Madden, the 50-something perennial bachelor Hollywood heartthrob she had a secret affair with. For seven years she was the one constant among his many affairs, and he was the (other than being a practitioner of great, prolific sex) the wise daddy she lost when her father walked out; the caring momma she lost when her mother failed to survive the desertion. Yvette left Andrew four years before, when she finally realized she would never be "the one." But now, as her bad luck would have it, she spies him seated three rows ahead of her at a theatrical performance with his wife. The only one she can tell is her best friend Reggie, who stiffly informs her that to resume their affair would be disastrous. Then, Michael reverts to his "all about me" behavior; the national department store Yvette worked so hard to be displayed in plays hardball; Reggie rushes over the line between best friend and unwanted suitor; her sister assumes full Bridezilla mode; and the scream dreams increase in frequency. What's Yvette to do when her phone rings and she hears Andrew's sexy baritone on the line? Told from Yvette's point of view, this first novel entertainingly nails the power-playing endemic to living in LosAngeles. But the narrative voice is flat, and Andrew never emerges from behind his silver-screen persona. A promising debut with room to grow.
Michel’s crisp writing and keen observations make her a writer to watch.
New Orleans Times-Picayune
"The ride is enlivened by bits of true brilliance. Yvette has a sharp eye and an observant wit, drawing the reader into her Southern memories."
"Author DeLauné Michel introduces us to Yvette Broussard—a deliciously intellectual, sensitive beauty with a wicked, yet—blame it on her southern roots—polite wit. Yvette is the most intriguing female heroine of recent fiction."
The Advocate
Aftermath of Dreaming is an ambitious beginning for DeLauné Michel, a romance of high sophistication for the genre from a young Baton Rouge native worthy of our attention.
Meghan Daum
DeLauné Michel makes a striking debut here, delivering a novel that is as emotionally earnest as it is socially astute.
Jerry Stahl
DeLauné Michel writes with the voice of a troubled angel, at once painfully funny and devastatingly real.
Diane Leslie
A terrific read. One of the few great novels of the last two years. DeLauné Michel is a marvelous writer.
Whitney Terrell
Michel’s fine a harrowing, bi-coastal meditation on unrequited love and fame from a writer schooledin southern humor.
Christopher Rice
"Mesmerizing, compelling, and deeply moving. A real and rare accomplishment."
Josh Getlin
...a promising novelist with a strong literary pedigree...DeLauné Michel’s Aftermath of Dreaming is rich in insights.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781615588756
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/3/2007
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Raised in south Louisiana, DeLauné Michel has worked as an actor and is the founding producer of Spoken Interludes, a reading series in New York and Los Angeles. Her short fiction has won awards. This is her first novel.

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Read an Excerpt

Aftermath of Dreaming

A Novel
By DeLaune Michel

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 DeLaune Michel
All right reserved.

ISBN: 006081733X

Chapter One

I've been waking up screaming for the past three months. Not every night, God, no. Probably just three or four times a week. Three or four times a week in the middle of the night, I find myself sitting straight up in bed, eyes wide open, screaming from the depth of my being a sound so loud I never would have thought I could make, then suddenly it all stops. And a void is left, a hollow, like that vacuum thing they talk about nature abhorring, but here it is in my apartment, alive and full of air, sucking all the images and dreams out of me, and all I am left with is wondering what it is and why don't my neighbors ever do anything?

Because I really have been screaming -- out loud. I mean, I know how confusing it can be when you sleep -- there's that whole falling-down dream where you'd swear you're flying hard and fast through the air, then when you land, you've been in your bed the whole time, haven't moved at all. But these sounds are real. So real they wake me up every time.

I keep thinking I will mention it to my neighbors when I pass them in the courtyard or see them at the mailbox. "By the way," I could say. "Have you been hearing screams coming from my apartment on a regular basis for a fewmonths now? In case you've been wondering about it, maybe waiting to see if it continues before you do anything -- don't worry, it's only my dreams."

In the repeated fantasies I have of this exchange, it always ends in an empty, silent stare from them. Particularly from Gloria, the was-prostitute now-seamstress, whose apartment shares a staircase with mine. Not that she dresses like a prostitute, or that we live on or near Selma, the purportedly high-traffic street for that sort of thing in Hollywood, though I think her business was more a call-and-come-over kind. And I don't even know why she had to tell me about that part of her past. She's the last person I would have suspected, though she does keep her red hair Playboy-esque long, falling around her face and softening the lines around her eyes that are obvious when the sun hits her dead-on. Was-prostitute, near-fifty, now-alone. There's a terrifying denouement.

One afternoon last year right after I moved in, I accepted her invitation for a cup of coffee and that was when she immediately began confiding her long sordid tale. As I sat on her couch feeling rather trapped, frankly, and listening to her cataloguing of the men and their particular predilections, her apartment's girlish, old-fashioned floral decor shifted in my mind from kitschy pleasant to purely depressing, as if it were meant to protect her from remembering her past. Better protection would have been for her to not confide in me at all. Now that the knowledge rested also in me, it felt like my unfortunately spontaneous thoughts of it added even more ghosts to the memories she had of her "visitors" as she called them, the men who traipsed up and down the stairs before the landlord finally put a stop to it.

The other night after the screaming happened -- it was twice in a row this week, usually I get a night off in between -- I drank some water and was lying back down when it occurred to me that maybe I should worry. I mean, my life is wonderful. I'm twenty-nine, single, and living in L.A. I'm happy and all that stuff. I'm fine.

I'm just screaming on a regular basis with no discernible reason or effect.

Which is kind of like living in the South, actually, where there are lots of big, dramatic actions full of urgency and despair that finally may as well not have happened for all the consequence they have. You can exhibit all sorts of peculiar behavior where I'm from, just don't expect your neighbors to talk to you about it. Probably because they are all too busy being peculiar themselves to notice or even care.

I grew up on the Gulf Coast in Pass Christian, Mississippi (pronounced pass-chris-tchan-miss-sippy, with the syllables folding into and on top of each other. It's a slow-hurry sound like your first two sips of a good drink), just east of New Orleans, where both my parents grew up in families going back many generations in Louisiana. My grandfather's secretary, Miss Plauche, used to walk to work through the New Orleans business district every day facing backward and would return home the same way, just facing the other . . . You get the picture. No one ever said a word. Not to her, not to anybody. But as Momma always said, "Well, it's not like she's hurting anyone." Of course, it did give new meaning to the expression "You know, I bumped into Miss Plauche today."

One early summer morning when I was young, my grandfather, in a gesture weighted with importance for its rarity, let me accompany him to his office. We sat in the serious-business air-conditioned quiet, he at his massive desk solidly engaged in the Wall Street Journal, and I on the thick, plush carpet, stomach down, head resting on my hands, as close as I could get to peer out the floor-to-ceiling windows way high above the city. The people far below, so many dark-suited men among brightly clothed women, moved in chaotic order like a game of marbles expertly won, until the flow was broken and a parting occurred. Then I saw Miss Plauche walking backward toward the big bank building. Her silver-haired head bobbed along like a sleepwalker meandering undisturbed toward her dream's destination. As I lay there watching her peculiar backward stride, I wondered what it was she was leaving behind in her past that she still needed so badly to see. And why didn't anyone ever ask her?


Excerpted from Aftermath of Dreaming by DeLaune Michel Copyright © 2006 by DeLaune Michel. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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